Monday, August 12, 2013

FACE TIME and the YA/MG READER by Eden Unger Bowditch


Let’s be honest with ourselves- kids don’t care what the critics say. We can cheer ourselves and pat ourselves on the back, but getting a fabulous review from a critic simply does not impress a kid reader.

Unlike adult fiction (a world where the readers read the reviews and buy accordingly and, thus, books impossible to get through become best sellers because they are the books in vogue to buy) where you can send your book off into the world and visit occasionally, YA books demand full-time attention, loving care, focus, engagement, and presence. Kids want to read, well, a good book, and they will like a book whether a critic tells them to or not. That’s why it can be more of a challenge to write for kids than adults. It is important to tour for any book, but it seems more so with YA/MG. Being out there on the road,speaking to kids, connecting with kids, is truly vital in the world of YA and MG. It is the life’s blood of the YA/MG book. As The Ravens of Solemano (Young Inventors Guild, Book 2) is poised for release in September, my publisher has basically kicked me out of the house and sent me packing. Well, that is not exactly… no, wait…that is exactly true! They have said the spikes in sales and attention on the web were shocking, every time I was on the road for the last book. But last time, I sauntered back to the US months after the release of The Atomic Weight of Secrets to an audience that had to reread the book to remember what to ask. Word of mouth is so important for all books, but more so for kids books. This means kids need to know you’re there. You need to make introductions for your literary baby. Loving care and attention are needed. While The Atomic Weight of Secrets held its own, it was really a neglected child. This time, I am ready to go. ARCs went out last month and events have already been planned. And, unlike with adult books, the long haul is not a fast delivery. A great review can shoot an adult book through the roof, but kids need time to get to know the book. My publisher told me to expect to work hard a lot longer than with books for adults. This was meant to encourage, as well as demand pavement pounding.It means they will stand behind the book much longer than one might expect. They believe that it simply can take longer and that the second book sells the first.
So I am ready. After what seems like ages carrying this baby inside of me, Ravens is kicking. I am taking deep breaths and doing yoga stretches. I feel like an expectant mother with a suitcase packed, waiting for labour to begin.


  1. Sounds as if you're ready to roll with this novel. And kids love any interaction with a "real-life" author. I hope you have a great time on your travels to spread the word about The Ravens of Solemano.

  2. Thanks so much, Michael. This always feels like the quiet time before the storm, the silence before the screaming begins. Teachers know how important that interaction is, sharing with kids, being there.

  3. One of the things that is a gift to the MG author is that our books are generally "slow burn". Unlike YA and adult titles, we have room to pick up speed and gain momentum.

    Looking forward to your release!

  4. I've found this too: it takes so long to get that word of mouth going in MG, but it's also a nice perk.

    An early congrats on your next book's release!

  5. Kinds want a good book period. Thanks for sharing your own experience and best of luck.

  6. It's kind of nice to know there is time to build readership. I love school and Skype visits, and I also like the fact that even if a book has been out for a while, if it's new to a school library or a new reader, it's like a current release to them.
    Congrats on your upcoming book!

  7. Any hope/commiserations for those of us grounded authors who can't afford to travel far and wide to promote their debut?

    I don't know when my novel's coming out (Working on edits with my editor now).

    So, I have time to plan for things in advance. Aside from local media, how do you network with schools and libraries in your state?

    I don't yet have ARCs to hand out or even a cover image to share, but I know I need to be doing something while time's on my side, so to speak.

    1. Postcards, handouts, and most importantly, one-on-one conversations. Let librarians and schools know you exist and are interested in speaking, etc. Establish contacts now.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!